Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mark Winkler: Jazz and Other Four Letter Words

Cafe Pacific Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Jazz and Other Four Letter Words

Los Angeles-born singer/songwriter Mark Winkler has performed and recorded since the mid 1980s. He’s another hip vocalist in the style of Dave Frishberg, Mose Allison, Michael Franks and Bobby Troup, although Winkler’s delivery is a bit more smooth. He has written charts for others — such as Liza Minnelli and Randy Crawford — but is best known for performing his own material. He’s also a crossover artist, in that he does a lot of pop music and has even written a Broadway show.

His recording output was limited for awhile, with only half a dozen albums until the new century. Since then, he has been much busier. 

Winkler always surrounds himself with talent. The backup musicians on this release include pianist Jamieson Trotter, guitarists Larry Koonse and Pat Kelley, bassists John Clayton and Dan Lutz, drummers Jeff Hamilton and Mike Shapiro, and instrumentalists Bob McChesney and Walt Fowler. 

Winkler also does a couple of duets with Cheryl Bentyne, of Manhattan Transfer fame.

The menu includes tunes by Frishberg, the Gershwins, Paul Simon and Richard Rogers, along with some originals. Everything is appealing, and — more importantly — everything swings.

Winkler is an excellent vocalist, and his voice is smooth as silk. Give him a try.

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